Re: History of Boards
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 00:01:57 -0600
Mark Speck asked for some information:
>I would like to obtain a little history on Board of Reviews for the
>ranks of Tenderfoot through Life.
>1. Did the guidelines ever allow Boards to be given by boys? If so
>when did they change and why?
Yep. The BSA provided for the Patrol Leaders' Council (PLC), with a
Scoutmaster present to serve as Advisor, to perform the Boards of Review for
Tenderfoot, Second and First Class only. This was an on-going thing that
stopped with the revised Troop Operations Plan in 1988.
>2. Was testing ever allowed during Boards? If so when did they change
Testing, per se, were never allowed during Boards of Review, but back in the
50s and 60s and the start of the 70s, they were encouraged. Some Scouting
literature encouraged Boards to "have Scouts to demonstrate how to tie two
ropes together" in various knots, to show how to use a map and compass, and
other basic Scouting skills. In 1973, the BSA adopted a plan under the
Improved Scouting Program which basically stated the policy we use
presently: a REVIEW is a REVIEW, NOT an re-examination or a practical
demonstration. The Scout can explain it, but he doesn't have to actually
perform the action asked of him during the review.
>3.I have been told that the whole process of Board of Reviews has
>changed in recent history. Can anyone verify that and expound on the
>reasons for the change?
Yep, Mark, the process has changed for the better and the worse.
Here are the significant changes since the Improved Scouting Program in 1973:
*All Boards of Review are conducted by the Troop's Committee with no youth
members present. This is a significant change for both the worse and the
better (in MY opinion only). Worse, because I and many other Scouters have
long felt that the youth leaders of the Troop are a lot more harder and have
a lot better knowledge of each Scout's progress than we adults will ever be.
These Scouts are now "cheated out" of a process that aided their leadership
However, there has been some good that have come from this.....the Troop's
Committee, which in most Troops was nothing but a rubber stamp until a Scout
earned Star, Life or Eagle....is now the REVIEWING AND
CONTROL group of the Troop. This is a new role for many Troops that had
adults to serve on the Troop's Committee with "nothing much to do".
This placed some real teeth into the Troop's Committee and forced them to
become more involved in the Troop's operation and support than in past.
*Scoutmasters and Assistants do NOT serve on Boards of Review. In the past,
a Scoutmaster would serve as non-voting advisor to the Boards of Review for
Tenderfoot, Second and First Class ranks and in some Troops, they served as
members of Boards of Review for Star and Life too. This takes the adult
advisor completely OUT of the loop of the revirewing process. This is a
good thing, because in lots of Troops, the Scoutmaster held back lots of
Scouts, which prompted their parents or the Scout himself to contact
National and ask for relief.
*A re-emphasis on what a Board of Review is all about......that's what the
"this is a Review, not an exaimination" stuff is all about.
Those are the changes to the program with regard to the Board of Review
process. Scoutmasters still approve advancements through the Scoutmasters'
Conference which is a part of the requirements for each rank before the
appearance before the Board of Review; but the Troop Committee and not the
Patrol Leaders' Council now takes the lead as far as advancements are
The main reason why this change was made was because many Troops did not
conduct true Boards of Review but basically "Yeah, we like him" type
populatarity contests, many times without a Scoutmaster or Assistant present
or with a younger Assistant Scoutmaster that did not understand (or refused
to understand) the importance of the Boards of Review to the BSA and Troop's
Hope this helps you out and sorry for the late response!!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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